Business Irish

Tuesday 15 October 2019

David Chance: 'Trade war could create opportunities for Irish businesses'


US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping Photo: Bloomberg
US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping Photo: Bloomberg

David Chance

With America and China going toe-to-toe in a trade war, there should be opportunities for Irish businesses in both markets, at least in the short-term. But as the disputes spread and deepen, the effects will soon turn negative.

In addition to the dispute between the US and China there is a real risk that trade relations between Washington and Brussels could plunge into conflict and, as we have seen with China, a broader range of tariffs will, in the end hit Ireland.

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The Irish Whiskey Association has already warned of the potential for damage to the industry here from tariff escalations. Ireland is a key part of the global supply chains that now criss-cross the world, with manufacturers here shipping goods globally, such as semiconductors or pharmaceuticals.

We have benefited more than most countries from globalisation and a study published last year by the German Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation showed that between 1990-2016, GDP per head here had risen by €1,261 a year thanks to globalisation.

We are at risk of a Celtic variation of the 'Dutch Disease', not only do 28pc of the €140bn of goods exported each year go the US, but medical and pharmaceuticals, whose output is dominated by US companies, accounted for a third. As well as accounting for a huge chunk of exports, multinational firms accounted for 77pc of the €10.4bn in company taxes paid last year, putting Ireland in double jeopardy.

Irish Independent

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